Community College Students’ Perceptions of Stress When Experiencing Loss Through Death of Someone Close and the Support that May be Available or Needed


Summer 8-13-2015



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Barbara Swanson

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Susan Ellen Campbell

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Harold Torrence


This study focused on what are community college students’ perceptions of stress when experiencing loss through death of someone close and what support is available and needed. A mixed method research design was used to research the questions. The results indicate that students were experiencing stress related to their loss and the greatest stress concern was feelings. Only one-fifth of survey respondents discussed their loss with anyone on campus and classmate, instructor, and friend were the most common responses of whom the students spoke with at the college. Multicultural students spoke less with instructors and more frequently with counselors, classmates, friends, or support services’ personnel. Grandmother (35%) and friend (30%) were the most common reported loss of respondents. Survey respondents request that a place to go for privacy was the number one response for support. All seven interviewees experienced physical illness, accidents, and/or an increase in psychological symptoms with their loss. The findings of this research have implications for developing support for students by staff, faculty, and administration of community colleges.


Adult Education, Multicultural Education, Staff Development, Community Building

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